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Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
#1
Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
I recently went on a flight to Vegas. It was less then 3hr flight. I took mine aboard as personal luggage, but didn't use it.  Ive had two DVT and PE's in the past and usually my oxygen level is normal around 95%. I have no doctor restriction to fly. 

But during each flight I was feeling really sleepy,  a little disoriented, and like I wasn't getting enough air. I took out my phone that has an oxygen sensor and it was consistently reading 85%-90%. The only way I could get it to raise was by taking deep breaths. On the ground it normally reads 95%.

According to the airline, they pressurize the cabin to around 8000ft pressure. When they fly above that level, oxygen levels start to drop off. From what I read they can drop 10% or more. I contacted the airline and they said they have warnings for people with lung issues and that it's normal since the air is thin. 

I contacted my Hematologist who now wants me to see a pulmonologist again or to do a CT scan to check for micro clots. But I'm on a blood thinner.

Has anyone used a CPAP machine during a flight? Would that help with oxygen flow to some extent?
ResMed AirCurve 10 vAuto
Pressure EPAP min 4.4, IPAP 8.4, IPAP Max 18, PS 4.

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#2
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
CPAP will not appreciably increase your oxygen levels during flight and it might be better just to focus on taking some deeper breaths. Higher expiratory pressure (EPAP) is associated with higher levels of oxygenation, but I'm not sure it can compensate for higher altitude. People with sufficient health risk can be provided supplemental oxygen during flight, but this means carrying an oxygen cylinder and cannula. It's not your imagination. Lots of articles on SpO2 and flight:

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news...anger-mark
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#3
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
Yea it helps, I have orthostatic hypotension so even if the %O2 saturation in the finger is 95% it doesn't mean I'm getting enough oxygenated blood to the head. On lift off I always feel I'm going to pass out any second now. I got an air mini and I simply hyperventilate myself while bending my legs to my chest. I set IPAP to my regular 15 and inhale with my nose and release it all through my mouth, that being on a nasal mask. I call it ventilator mode, in theory its like having IPAP 15 EPAP 1

I sit with my knees to my chest throughout the flight, of course I've been asked to sit normally but when I mentioned passing out if I do that, they leave me alone. Not like they could remove me from the flight in air anyway. Mind you I fly in europe not us.
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#4
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
If necessary, I would think supplemental O2 be be far more beneficial than CPAP on flights. It's what the pilots use when they have to be on the mask (say one crew member has to get up and go to the head, other pilot should be on his mask) and like everything on an airplane it is separately regulated (no, you don't get to use nuts and bolts from Home Depot on an airplane). Accordingly, I don't know the regs surrounding use of O2 concentrators or personally supplied O2 bottles, may have to get from airline for use on the flight.

OMMOHY
There.  I said it.

OMMOHY
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#5
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
I'm waiting on my hematologist doctors response since I'm on a blood thinner. I'm not sure what else to think except it probably is just normal for me or anyone to drop 10% during a flight due to the airplane pressurized to 8000ft. It's like you are on a small mountain and if you aren't used to breathing at altitude can give people problems. I'm fine on the ground so I doubt they would ever tell me I need supplemental oxygen. I'm only 47yo.
ResMed AirCurve 10 vAuto
Pressure EPAP min 4.4, IPAP 8.4, IPAP Max 18, PS 4.

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#6
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
what blood thinner do you use?
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#7
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
Xarelto
ResMed AirCurve 10 vAuto
Pressure EPAP min 4.4, IPAP 8.4, IPAP Max 18, PS 4.

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#8
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
(04-18-2019, 03:28 PM)MyronH Wrote: I'm waiting on my hematologist doctors response since I'm on a blood thinner. I'm not sure what else to think except it probably is just normal for me or anyone to drop 10% during a flight due to the airplane pressurized to 8000ft. It's like you are on a small mountain and if you aren't used to breathing at altitude can give people problems. I'm fine on the ground so I doubt they would ever tell me I need supplemental oxygen. I'm only 47yo.
If I remember correctly from my military aviation days, commercial airlines typically pressurize their cabins to 5000 feet. Nothing to do with performance, but more for passenger comfort. When I was flying military, our average cabin altitude was 8000 feet. We had to keep it below 10,000 feet as it would raise havoc with some of the missions systems in the back. 

Homer
Homer

Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Monitors are also Advisory Members, just with Extra Work assigned.

Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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#9
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
It's a standard 8,000 cabin altitude for most legacy aircraft. They are not capable of maintaining 5,000 foot cabin at the altitudes it is economical to fly. Some fo the newer craft like the 787 or the A350 may have lower cabin altitudes.
There.  I said it.

OMMOHY
Contrarian in Residence  
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#10
RE: Flying and using machine on a flight? Can it help SpO2 at high altitude?
(04-21-2019, 02:50 PM)OMyMyOHellYes Wrote: It's a standard 8,000 cabin altitude for most legacy aircraft.  They are not capable of maintaining 5,000 foot cabin at the altitudes it is economical to fly.  Some fo the newer craft like the 787 or the A350 may have lower cabin altitudes.

When I got my dispatcher's license many years ago, the correct answer was 5,000 feet, but with the increase in cruising altitudes, 8 is more realistic. When I was in -130s, had a ramp seal blow out with a back end crew on board and the cabin altitude hit 12,500. Slammed the heads of the hard drives into the platters and we ended up going home. Everyone went to 100% oxygen as it was the bold face at the time (sudden loss of cabin pressure). Maintenance wasn't too happy and tried to blame the crew. Found out they had recently replaced the seal and hadn't allowed enough cure time before signing off on it.
Homer

Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies. Monitors are also Advisory Members, just with Extra Work assigned.

Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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